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Главная Епархиальные Новости ВОСТОЧНО-АМЕРИКАНСКАЯ ЕПАРХИЯ ROCANA Update: January 8, 2012
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ROCANA Update: January 8, 2012

Епархиальные новости - ВОСТОЧНО-АМЕРИКАНСКАЯ ЕПАРХИЯ 09.01.2012

Greetings on the Nativity of Our Lord! 
Christ is born!  Glorify Him!

  • METROPOLITAN AGAFANGEL'S NATIVITY EPISTLE
  • WINTER YOUTH RETREAT AT ST. NICHOLAS CONVENT (CLEVELAND, NEW YORK)
  • CELEBRATING THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD AT ST. INNOCENT'S PARISH IN POTTSTOWN (PENNSYLVANIA)
  • FIRE AT PARISH IN BARNAUL (RUSSIA)

 

 

METROPOLITAN AGAFANGEL'S NATIVITY EPISTLE

Dear Fellow Archpastors, most honorable pastors,
God-loving monastics and laypeople!

Since ancient times, the lives of communities have been interwoven with various historical periods, rises and falls that have their beginnings, their everyday life and continuation. Some gather to form nations, confess various faiths, live according to different calendars and ways to denote the passing of the years and have different spiritual destinies. For some, life is wrapped up in ongoing activities and busy concerns, while others believe in the existence of other worlds and an other life. For some, the entire world that surrounds them is limited to the frame of life and death, while others contemplate the infinite nature of life and existence. In this realm marked by enormous diversity of people’s lives and their understanding of
creation, we Christians are also included. We are few in relation to the total number of people on earth (especially if out of those who call themselves Christians you only consider the Orthodox who live by the “old” Julian calendar and the teachings of the holy forefathers), and Christianity itself no longer determines the trajectory of human development. There was a time when Christianity subdued and vanquished paganism, but now we live in an opposite time, when paganism in its many forms is foremost in people’s minds. We constantly see proof of more divergences from Christ, but these divergences are not the result of people acquiring new knowledge and are not characterized by a new, higher plane of spiritual development. Just the opposite, these divergences are proof of the loss of faith and the debasing of mankind to the level of being driven by its instincts.

“When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) is not a rhetorical question, but constitutes a fact of what will occur and what is already occurring. All those on earth commonly believe that Christianity certainly cannot pretend to be more dominant above all other faiths. Just the opposite, Christianity as a whole surrenders its principles and attempts to strengthen its place in society with the desperation of a drowning person by, on the one hand, promoting the ecumenist movement among Christians and on the other hand, by the deadly policy of eliminating  differences with other religions.

Unfortunately, as a result we now have so-called “World Orthodoxy,” which has not been Orthodoxy for a long time already, and the “modernized” Christianity, where Christ does not exist. Globalism, which has overcome all of mankind, does not provide and cannot provide a different ideal other than the traditional humanistic ideal, that is, mankind itself, temporal and helpless before even the simplest of cataclysms of nature. The foundation of globalism includes one common keystone that distinguishes its essence – unbelief. That is why it is inevitably doomed, because it leads to a dead-end and cannot lead to anywhere else. Unfortunate are those who succumbed to the spirit of the modern world and do not trust in God in this life!

In this circumstance, it is faith that distinguishes us Christians – faith in Christ. Faith that God became incarnate and came to this world, bore witness of Himself through many miracles and His Holy teachings, died, resurrected and promised eternal life to all those who believe in Him. All the many different societies and worlds are bound up in one Figure, in Christ, and these words will remain real for us for eternity, “I believe and confess, Lord, that You are truly the Christ, Son of the living God, who came into the world to save sinners.” Only those who confess Christ will live on for eternity. The entire point of creation is bound up in this belief. Our lives, really our own, do not begin when we appeared on earth, but when we consciously utter the words, “I believe!” Therefore let us always hold on to the faith of the Holy Fathers, which is the beginning and essential condition of our  entire lives!

I congratulate everyone with the Nativity of Christ and wish for all of us to grow and strengthen in the faith, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

The Most Reverend
+AGAFANGEL

Metropolitan of New York and Eastern America
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
Odessa, Nativity of Christ, 2011

WINTER YOUTH RETREAT AT ST. NICHOLAS CONVENT (CLEVELAND, NEW YORK)

Anchored by the presence of Archbishop Andronik and a cadre of supportive priests (Fathers Daniel Meschter, Nikita Grigoriev, Nicholas Chernyavsky and Anthony Gunin) the Convent of St Nicholas held a youth retreat from December 23-27, 2011.

Twenty-three young people gathered on Friday evening for an introduction and brief discussion with mother Agapia centered on the purpose of the Convent and the significance of having young people attend such an event at the Convent. The main message was that a life of repentance and prayer was essential not only for a monastic but for all faithful Orthodox Christians, young and old.

Following that lead a moleben (prayer of intercession) to Saint Nicholas was held on Friday evening and a pannikhida on Saturday morning with all participating and taking care to write names of those they wished to pray for. It was understood that while molebens and pannikhidas are an important element of Orthodox worship they do not replace the power of prayerful intercession that comes from celebrating the Divine Liturgy.

To that end and knowing that Archbishop Andronik would be serving the Liturgy on Sunday the sessions on Saturday were primarily devoted to preparing for a hierarchical service. Reader Daniel Olson kindly attended the retreat and gave a talk to the group outlining what takes place and the meaning of the prayers that are said as a bishop is vested. Later that day the participants were divided up into practice sessions for those who would sing in the choir and those who would serve in the altar. While Fr. Daniel Meschter and reader Daniel worked with the altar servers, choir director Nikodim Buryakov rehearsed the singers. The preparation paid off and the young people did a beautiful job both in singing the All-night Vigil and in attentively serving and prayerfully singing the hierarchical Divine Liturgy on Sunday.

Besides the services a lecture on reading the Scriptures was presented by Fr Daniel Saturday morning. He noted the tremendous differences in the various English translations of the Bible, and how important it is for us not simply to casually read Scripture but to delve into its meaning and apply it our daily life. In between lectures and services, deacon Dimitri Dobronravov reminded all that we are made up of not only mind and spirit, but body as well, as he led the group on a vigorous walk and workout.

Fr Nicholas and Fr Nikita rounded out Sunday afternoon and evening with informal “fireside chats”: Fr Nicholas started out the conversations by asking what separates or distinguishes Orthodoxy from other religions, while Fr Nikita centered his discussion on free will and the fallen nature of man. More informal in tone these talks with the priests challenged the young people to think more deeply about how they could more seriously live out their Orthodox way of life in a world that in so many ways is contrary to such a path.

One realization of how this challenge could be met was by the beginning and renewing of relationships with other Orthodox youth. Coming from different cities and parishes some were meeting for the first time while others had come to know each other well already from previous gatherings. Judging from the reluctance all had on parting on Monday and their eagerness to organize another retreat in the future gives one hope that the time spent at the Convent was worthwhile and will serve to strengthen the faith of all who participated.

CELEBRATING THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD AT ST. INNOCENT'S PARISH IN POTTSTOWN (PENNSYLVANIA)

Father Daniel Meschter served the Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of our Lord January 7 at the St. Innocent Mission Church in Pottstown Pennsylvania.  There were 34 attendees,  including pilgrims who traveled from Vancouver Canada, Ohio, New Jersey and Delaware.  After the service the festive trapeza featured all sorts of goodies.

FIRE AT PARISH IN BARNAUL (RUSSIA)

Troubles continue for the ROCA Holy Ascension parish in Barnaul, Russia.  As we reported December 25, the parish recently purchased a small house and added to it a vestibule, altar and cross -- after their church had been confiscated by Russian Federation authorities.  When Rector Father George (Titov) and the choir arrived at the parish (the new house) the morning of January 6, they found that the gate had been broken.  They also  discovered near the building the remains of an extinguished fire.  The annex (vestibule) that the parish had just added to the building had burned from the outside. To the parishioners, this appeared to be arson. Nonetheless, the parish conducted services on the Eve of the Nativity of our Lord and on the Nativity of Our Lord.

 

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